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Is a musician always an artist? Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 13th January 2017
  #241
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There are lots of musicians who are not artists, some learn to reproduce pieces of music, others create it. I know of some great musicians in orchestras who couldn't ad lib to save their lives and I know of others who couldn't have the discipline to play in an orchestra to save theirs.
Old 13th January 2017
  #242
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
I think we disagree on the usage of that word. In my opinion, objectivity in a lot of cases really comes down more to consistently applying a thought process or principle or policy rather than it residing or originating outside of the individual. In other words, in the example above the definition isn't so much a moving target as it is constantly evolving by adding parameters. As long as whatever parameters are chosen are used consistently by the individual it is a far more objective than subjective use.
Yep, I think we really do. I tend to reserve 'objective' for things where pretty hard and fast proof is available and where the definition of the thing being measured is directly, consistently and unequivocally standardised (so to speak). So, for example, the length of a line can be objectively determined and, while people may argue or quibble about the accuracy of the ruler used, no-one (other than the deranged or the spectacularly deliberately obtuse) has the option of saying "Oh, but that wasn't what I meant when I said 'length'". Similarly, you analyse a chemical compound and it either contains carbon or it doesn't. You measure the radiation spectrum of a star and a particular frequency is either there or it isn't. You look at a well-documented, well-known historical event and it either happened on this particular day or it didn't. Those are the kind of things I'll freely accept as being capable of objective determination. Anything else doesn't make the cut for me.

Maybe it's just my background and/or the way I prefer to compartmentalise the world. I find it makes it easier when it comes to analysing just about any topic or idea. One of the first questions for me is always "Is this capable of objective determination?" (in the sense in which I apply the word). If it is, it's just a case of identifying the appropriate metric and applying it - job done. Conversely, if it isn't, you always have to be open to the possibility that even your most basic assumptions about the subject may be flawed or completely incorrect. Or that your assumptions are no more valid than some others. (Both of which - to me - potentially represent the situation when trying to determine any kind of metric for "newness" in music or for "artistry".) That doesn't mean that you can't try to measure things nor does it mean that you can't be internally consistent wherever possible. It just means that you have to be aware that - however carefully you have constructed your thesis or arguments - they are built on uncertain or changeable ground.

Which, rather ironically, is where you and I find ourselves on the subject of objectivity and the definition and usage of the word 'objective' itself. All of which risks us becoming extremely 'meta' and disappearing up our own fundaments like the mythical Oozlum Bird. So perhaps we'd better call it a day and go our separate ways with our separate definitions!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
In contrast, you could take someone who loves a player called Frank, comes up with why that is and when we then see that Joe does the same this person suddenly ignore that for Joe, but maintains it's still true for Frank. So the standard is double. One set of "rules" thus is applied to Frank and another for Joe. That's what I was juxtaposing "objectivity" to. And I did that because of what I thought was the proposition that nothing can ever be certain in arts because of its fuzzy nature. But as others have pointed out as well, it's actually not entirely fuzzy. Quite far from it. We can and do analyze music and it yields absolutely tremendous results (which, again, are evident if one goes to college or university to study music theory for a few years). So, if that analysis didn't work then teaching wouldn't work near as efficiently as it does.
Yes, I think we can take it as read that the inconsistency that you describe there falls far from either of our definitions of 'objective'. I've also never said that musical (or musicological) analysis isn't a useful tool or that it can't yield useful results. I just don't find it sufficiently powerful, well-defined or universally, unequivocally applicable as to meet my, admittedly rather stringent, definition of objectivity. Perhaps one day it may be, who knows.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
And lastly; I don't think we should be so quick to throw out actual objective evaluation of the arts with the argument that it's so easily argued, because if that was the case you'd have to explain just how the earth being older than 6-10,000 years is a more objective issue. A great deal of Americans believe in a young earth. Many believe man and dinosaur lived together. So, if the mere fact that a large amount of people find it easy to argue or redefine what some consider to be objective makes it not objective then...
Sorry, probably not being clear enough in what I was trying to say. It's not an issue of whether something can be argued about or whether there may be differences of interpretation when it comes to final results or particular observations, it's more about the underlying basis for the argument in the first place. The best way I can describe it is to return to the line example earlier. As I said above, people can always argue about the accuracy of the ruler used to determine the length of the line, but they can't realistically disagree with the measurement on the basis that their definition of 'length' isn't the same as everyone else's. When it comes to things like defining what is 'art' though, or defining what is 'newness' in music (to some extent), multiple definitions and multiple metrics are not only possible, but also probably inevitable. It's the nature of the beast.

As for the age of the earth, that is a more objective issue in the sense that there is a good base of sound physical evidence (radiometric, stratigraphic, etc.) that particular rocks and mineral layers within the Earth's crust are of a certain age. While such evidence may not (yet) give us a completely accurate number for the age of the planet, it pretty much rules out any of the 6-10,000 year stuff or any ideas about men and dinosaurs living side by side. Those who, nevertheless, choose to believe that kind of thing can only (as far as I'm concerned) be assigned to the "deranged or spectacularly deliberately obtuse" group. But that's a whole different argument and one that encroaches upon topics that do not sit well here on GS, so I think we'll let that sleeping dog lie.

Last edited by adrianww; 13th January 2017 at 06:16 PM.. Reason: I am one of the world's premium suppliers of typos.
Old 13th January 2017
  #243
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adrianww View Post
I've also never said that musical (or musicological) analysis isn't a useful tool or that it can't yield useful results. I just don't find it sufficiently powerful, well-defined or universally, unequivocally applicable as to meet my, admittedly rather stringent, definition of objectivity. Perhaps one day it may be, who knows.
I think you may have slightly misunderstood one of the points I was making when talking about music theory. The point was that the fact that it works says something about that which it represents. If what it represents was what some implied (not you, and they later somewhat backed away from that implication) then the system of music theory would fail.

Quote:
Originally Posted by adrianww View Post
Sorry, probably not being clear enough in what I was trying to say. It's not an issue of whether something can be argued about or whether there may be differences of interpretation when it comes to final results or particular observations, it's more about the underlying basis for the argument in the first place. The best way I can describe it is to return to the line example earlier. As I said above, people can always argue about the accuracy of the ruler used to determine the length of the line, but they can't realistically disagree with the measurement on the basis that their definition of 'length' isn't the same as everyone else's. When it comes to things like defining what is 'art' though, or defining what is 'newness' in music (to some extent), multiple definitions and multiple metrics are not only possible, but also probably inevitable. It's the nature of the beast.
Yes, but you are comparing two different scales and I think thereby drawing a conclusion that isn't 'fair'. Your line is a single, simple item. "Is this solo 'new'" is not. It would be more apt to discuss if something that consisted of multiple shapes other than pure lines added up to X, Y or Z.

I guess where we really disagree is on the magnitude of the complexity or difference, and I think what turns some people off is the view that maybe, just maybe, some people have more experience and knowledge (expertise) to actually have something to say about more complex "objects".

In other words; music is actually entirely quantifiable in a physical sense, as we can represent it in both the time and frequency domain. We do null-tests here to see if the digital representation of two items are exactly the same, or, if there is a difference, where that difference lies and how large it is. So as I was saying (or implying rather) before, since we're dealing with the 'real' analog world no two things are ever the same, and therefore everything that happens is a new event, and every object is unique. So the very 'extreme' argument based on that is that we can't even ask the question of whether a performance was 'new' in the first place, because it all is - entropy just increases.

But then why is it that we're having this discussion, and why is it that many musicians actually do agree that many aspects of a performance is just a rehash? And that's why I've said that within reason we indeed can use objective means to determine if something is new or not, with the word "new" having that caveat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by adrianww View Post
As for the age of the earth, that is a more objective issue in the sense that there is a good base of sound physical evidence (radiometric, stratigraphic, etc.) that particular rocks and mineral layers within the Earth's crust are of a certain age. While such evidence may not (yet) give us a completely accurate number for the age of the planet, it pretty much rules out any of the 6-10,000 year stuff or any ideas about men and dinosaurs living side by side. Those who, nevertheless, choose to believe that kind of thing can only (as far as I'm concerned) be assigned to the "deranged or spectacularly deliberately obtuse" group. But that's a whole different argument and one that encroaches upon topics that do not sit well here on GS, so I think we'll let that sleeping dog lie.
Right, but the point was that nothing appears to be off-limits, even if it happens to be - in your opinion - objective and not debatable. And so if that's the case then the mere fact that people disagree doesn't automatically invalidate the claim. See my point?
Old 13th January 2017
  #244
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lejonhjarta View Post
Artist or musician, defining yourself or others by labels with fixed attributes will limit your artistry as a whole is what I have found.
I actually don't think that's entirely true, or rather I don't think it's true for all people in all situations.

I can imagine musicians who really do look almost entirely like a "craftsman" rather than "artist" who would actually arguably benefit from understanding the difference between the two, because only then can they begin to try to truly acquire the artistry they thought they already had. It's not true for all, but I've actually seen this myself.

I think you eventually proposed that a mix of the two is optimal, which in turn hints at what I'm saying above. If one doesn't know what one is missing then it's harder to acquire it in some cases. So it's not so much about the label applied by others as it is investigating an art form intellectually.
Old 13th January 2017
  #245
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
I actually don't think that's entirely true, or rather I don't think it's true for all people in all situations.

I can imagine musicians who really do look almost entirely like a "craftsman" rather than "artist" who would actually arguably benefit from understanding the difference between the two, because only then can they begin to try to truly acquire the artistry they thought they already had. It's not true for all, but I've actually seen this myself.

I think you eventually proposed that a mix of the two is optimal, which in turn hints at what I'm saying above. If one doesn't know what one is missing then it's harder to acquire it in some cases. So it's not so much about the label applied by others as it is investigating an art form intellectually.
That's a good point. I don't know who is a fan of Butch Vig's work, but he's often to his chagrin credited as a producer when he prefers to be called a sound engineer because he feels "producers are middle managers who torture musicians into sounding like the producer's pre-conception of what they should sound like, not how they are."

Any label, I guess, is a double-edged sword. However, we live in an industry and world that is dominated by labels.
Old 13th January 2017
  #246
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyDandy View Post
Any label, I guess, is a double-edged sword. However, we live in an industry and world that is dominated by labels.
I agree. Without words, which is what "labels" are, it's hard to communicate (though we could use music I suppose :-), but with words we still have the problem of defining them as well as dealing with whatever "values" they carry with them.

I think that the artist community can also serve a purpose in society in that it can engage in intellectual discourse on a "higher" level, which I think is a generally good thing. From that standpoint discussions aren't a waste.

Then again, at some point the artist needs to create....
Old 13th January 2017
  #247
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
I agree. Without words, which is what "labels" are, it's hard to communicate (though we could use music I suppose :-), but with words we still have the problem of defining them as well as dealing with whatever "values" they carry with them.
Have you looked at any of the titles of Anthony Braxton's tunes?
Old 13th January 2017
  #248
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
Have you looked at any of the titles of Anthony Braxton's tunes?
I haven't. Do you recommend it?
Old 13th January 2017
  #249
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
I haven't. Do you recommend it?
This is one:


here is another:
Old 13th January 2017
  #250
Gear Maniac
Darnit, 12tone, you just sent me done an Internet rabbit hole learning about Braxton's notation system. I got work to do, man.
Old 13th January 2017
  #251
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyDandy View Post
[...]

Any label, I guess, is a double-edged sword. However, we live in an industry and world that is dominated by labels.
Wouldn't it be more a two sided plane?




OK, OK. I'm going, I'm going...
Old 13th January 2017
  #252
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
Have you looked at any of the titles of Anthony Braxton's tunes?
[sigh].....

I am absolutely baffled by how I could have missed out on this artist. I mean, really. Completely baffled.

I'm listening to Composition #156 now, (Hamburg '91), and I'm loving it.

I owe you one for turning me on to him....!!! This deserves an emoticon:

Old 14th January 2017
  #253
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
[sigh].....

I am absolutely baffled by how I could have missed out on this artist. I mean, really. Completely baffled.

I'm listening to Composition #156 now, (Hamburg '91), and I'm loving it.

I owe you one for turning me on to him....!!! This deserves an emoticon:

Cool man, I'm glad to turn you onto him.

He's sort of like an unheralded genius, but a certifiable genius nevertheless. He's one of those polymath freaks,who has a command and grasp of many disparate disciplines.

Just from a saxophonist angle, I'm not so crazy about his tone, articulation or technique...he's really interesting in that he's got incredible avant garde/free jazz chops, but whenever he ventures into bop or other straight ahead disciplines, he loses my interest...same as is the case with Zorn for me.

His tone is weird as well - he plays a metal Brilhart Level-Air, which is the same mouthpiece that Sanborn uses, whose tone and plying style is basically 180 degrees away...but his major inspiration and tonal sense is Paul Desmond...Paul Desmond!?!
Old 14th January 2017
  #254
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
Cool man, I'm glad to turn you onto him.

He's sort of like an unheralded genius, but a certifiable genius nevertheless. He's one of those polymath freaks,who has a command and grasp of many disparate disciplines.

Just from a saxophonist angle, I'm not so crazy about his tone, articulation or technique...he's really interesting in that he's got incredible avant garde/free jazz chops, but whenever he ventures into bop or other straight ahead disciplines, he loses my interest...same as is the case with Zorn for me.

His tone is weird as well - he plays a metal Brilhart Level-Air, which is the same mouthpiece that Sanborn uses, whose tone and plying style is basically 180 degrees away...but his major inspiration and tonal sense is Paul Desmond...Paul Desmond!?!
I totally hear you. To me, having only listened to about 60 minutes worth of music today, I greatly prefer his tone on the big horn, can't remember if it's bass or contrabass sax. But that to me works way better.....

+1 on Zorn.

I'm just weirded out because I listened to a bit of Zorn, and a lot more to Tim Berne and Henry Threadgill, so I sort of should (?) have run into him at some point....
Old 14th January 2017
  #255
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
I'm just weirded out because I listened to a bit of Zorn, and a lot more to Tim Berne and Henry Threadgill, so I sort of should (?) have run into him at some point....
Circle
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circle_(jazz_band))

could have been the next jazz superband, circa early 70s - with Chick, Braxton and Dave Holland, also with Barry Altschul on drums...but was not meant to be.

Possibly could have provided an alternate voice to the Miles' branches like Weather Report, Herbie's Mwandishi/Headhunters, Mahavishnu, and Miles himself, but maybe there wasn't the public stomach for such an avant garde stream.



Chick went ahead with RTF, and Braxton continues on with his unique music, employing the likes of fellow genius George Lewis, and Kenny Wheeler, etc...

I think ECM is sort of an offshoot of the aesthetic that Circle laid forth, along with groups like Oregon, the multi culturalism of Don Cherry and early Pat Metheny stuff...

Old 14th January 2017
  #256
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post

I can imagine musicians who really do look almost entirely like a "craftsman" rather than "artist" who would actually arguably benefit from understanding the difference between the two, because only then can they begin to try to truly acquire the artistry they thought they already had. It's not true for all, but I've actually seen this myself.

I think you eventually proposed that a mix of the two is optimal, which in turn hints at what I'm saying above. If one doesn't know what one is missing then it's harder to acquire it in some cases. So it's not so much about the label applied by others as it is investigating an art form intellectually.
How did science show what said musician was missing, and what did the musician do or change to become an artist? (Who were these musicians that learned through science what they were missing?)

Still seems like in the end, it would be a judgement call on all fronts.
Old 14th January 2017
  #257
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post


I'm not making a personal judgement call, this is just a comment in regard to this thread, I clicked around through that (did anyone listen to the whole thing?), and came upon some quite chaotic moments.

What would Bach or someone make of that or so many other forms of music, jazz, avant garde,....how does one prove scientifically and objectively that's art, not just art, but great art and masterful artistry, and not just musicians (or non musicians) going mad? Meanwhile other talented musicians are just musicians?

Not asking 12tone, just throwing it out there.
Old 14th January 2017
  #258
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
How did science show what said musician was missing, and what did the musician do or change to become an artist? (Who were these musicians that learned through science what they were missing?)

Still seems like in the end, it would be a judgement call on all fronts.
You're conflating two separate conversations in a nonsensical way. Read what we were discussing again and ignore everything else that had been said before it and it'll make sense (maybe).
Old 14th January 2017
  #259
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
how does one prove scientifically and objectively that's art, not just art, but great art and masterful artistry, and not just musicians (or non musicians) going mad? Meanwhile other talented musicians are just musicians?
One doesn't, and one need not to. It should boil down to this:

There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind ... the only yardstick by which the result should be judged is simply that of how it sounds. If it sounds good it's successful; if it doesn't it has failed.

-Duke Ellington

Now, the 'good' part of it, that's up to the beholder, and nobody can or should tell them otherwise.
Old 14th January 2017
  #260
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
One doesn't, and one need not to. It should boil down to this:

There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind ... the only yardstick by which the result should be judged is simply that of how it sounds. If it sounds good it's successful; if it doesn't it has failed.

-Duke Ellington

Now, the 'good' part of it, that's up to the beholder, and nobody can or should tell them otherwise.
Well, that's absolute rubbish. All of your statements are proven wrong by everyday music bombardment. Have a good listen.:-)
Old 14th January 2017
  #261
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FFTW View Post
Well, that's absolute rubbish. All of your statements are proven wrong by everyday music bombardment. Have a good listen.:-)
Well, no...you just proved it actually. It definitely seems like you have a very high fail ratio, that's all.

As in the case of anything, one person's rubbish may be another's treasure, and visa-versa...
Old 14th January 2017
  #262
I tend to think that the term 'objective' is one that humans cannot apply to any given subject without turning it into a subjective term. In other words, every comment made thus far has been subjective.

If this were not a fact, someone would have suggested breaking art down into objective and subjective forms before going any farther in the discussion. But no one among us can recognise objective art, because we are not equipped with the proper apparatus to do so. Once we filter anything through the brain, all hope is lost.

For us, everything is a combination of 'Schrödinger's Art' and Quantum Physics. Is it 'good' or 'bad' music? We don't know - we will have to listen to it first. However, once we listen to it, our brain has effected the tune - my impression and your impression may be 180 degrees out of phase. Human objectivity is a dream.

If objective art exists, how can it's existence be proven through subjective means? Would it leave no impression at all, or leave the same impression on everyone? It would, out of necessity, have to have one effect or the other.


Last edited by johnny nowhere; 14th January 2017 at 12:54 PM.. Reason: forgive my redundancy
Old 14th January 2017
  #263
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny nowhere View Post
I tend to think that the term 'objective' is one that humans cannot apply to any given subject without turning it into a subjective term. In other words, every comment made thus far has been subjective.

If this were not a fact, someone would have suggested breaking art down into objective and subjective forms before going any farther in the discussion. But no one among us can recognise objective art, because we are not equipped with the proper apparatus to do so. Once we filter anything through the brain, all hope is lost.

For us, everything is a combination of 'Schrödinger's Art' and Quantum Physics. Is it 'good' or 'bad' music? We don't know - we will have to listen to it first. However, once we listen to it, our brain has effected the tune - my impression and your impression may be 180 degrees out of phase. Human objectivity is a dream.

If objective art exists, how can it's existence be proven through subjective means? Would it leave no impression at all, or leave the same impression on everyone? It would, out of necessity, have to have one effect or the other.

Schrodinger's tune?

...played everyday in real life by Abba?

Another thought (totally unrelated), in a bizarro world, Abba would only play crab cannons....
Old 14th January 2017
  #264
Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
Schrodinger's tune?

...played everyday in real life by Abba?
Actually, I've always quite liked Abba's music.

I was just thinking that if we could figure out what objective art consisted of, we might then determine who the objective artists were. Until then - it seems we chase the answer to the OPs initial inquiry with one foot nailed to the floor.
Old 14th January 2017
  #265
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny nowhere View Post
Actually, I've always quite liked Abba's music.

I was just thinking that if we could figure out what objective art consisted of, we might then determine who the objective artists were. Until then - it seems we chase the answer to the OPs initial inquiry with one foot nailed to the floor.
I'm not anti ABBA...I'm just joshing, as per usual.
Old 14th January 2017
  #266
Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
I'm not anti ABBA...I'm just joshing, as per usual.


Oh, I didn't take your post as such, it was innocuous enough. My only implication was that I could tolerate 'Schrödinger's Tune' every day without a gnashing of teeth.
Old 14th January 2017
  #267
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny nowhere View Post
For us, everything is a combination of 'Schrödinger's Art' and Quantum Physics. Is it 'good' or 'bad' music? We don't know - we will have to listen to it first. However, once we listen to it, our brain has effected the tune - my impression and your impression may be 180 degrees out of phase. Human objectivity is a dream.
Human objectivity is a dream. But not totally. Actually i think its possible to be a human and objective at the same time but that may be a case for a psychiatrist. If one is to decide if something is art or good/bad, of course that´s totally subjective as it points to emotional reactions. But on the other hand, there is emotional content in the music, which is not like 180 degrees between everybody. Music expresses a stance to the world/other music/people. These attitudes - like "no future" Punk - could be analyzed more maybe. Like the facial emotion recognition, which has come a long way and is now implemented all over the place in software projects.

In the field of KI ethics, people will have to understand these kind of things - human emotions - anyway. Elevator music producers and music game developers may push that further. Obviously the objectivation of human subjectivity would be a big market too.
Old 14th January 2017
  #268
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
Well, no...you just proved it actually. It definitely seems like you have a very high fail ratio, that's all.

As in the case of anything, one person's rubbish may be another's treasure, and visa-versa...
Well, no. I'll bet by your self conceited attitude that you have connections though. ;^)
Old 14th January 2017
  #269
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Originally Posted by FFTW View Post
Well, no. I'll bet by your self conceited attitude that you have connections though. ;^)
I don't know quite what you mean, but I do thank you for pointing out any notion of self conceit I am conveying to you. By no means is it intentional, and in any case, if you notice it, not only to you, but to me it's unbecoming and reprehensible as well...sorry you feel that way.

Old 14th January 2017
  #270
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny nowhere View Post
I tend to think that the term 'objective' is one that humans cannot apply to any given subject without turning it into a subjective term. In other words, every comment made thus far has been subjective.

If this were not a fact, someone would have suggested breaking art down into objective and subjective forms before going any farther in the discussion. But no one among us can recognise objective art, because we are not equipped with the proper apparatus to do so. Once we filter anything through the brain, all hope is lost.

For us, everything is a combination of 'Schrödinger's Art' and Quantum Physics. Is it 'good' or 'bad' music? We don't know - we will have to listen to it first. However, once we listen to it, our brain has effected the tune - my impression and your impression may be 180 degrees out of phase. Human objectivity is a dream.

If objective art exists, how can it's existence be proven through subjective means? Would it leave no impression at all, or leave the same impression on everyone? It would, out of necessity, have to have one effect or the other.

Ałl art is objective. Art is a communication. It becomes subjective only by the ability to comprehend that communication. Ignorance of it is not a qualification, although, by listening to some on this thread, it seems that their ignorance is.
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